By Cari Guthrie
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Recognizing MLK’s birthday this month makes me think about our dreams and those of the people we serve. What are your dreams? To buy a house….get a new car….get married….have a family….have a job that you love….take a vacation to that special place? What were your dreams when you were growing up? To be a doctor…..teacher…. veterinarian….have a big house…..get a dog? Sound familiar? The dreams that we have often guide us through many decisions in our life – they give us something to aim for – something to look forward to.
In our work at Cornerstone Montgomery, I often tell new staff that one of the toughest parts of their job is going to be helping some of their clients come up with their dreams and goals. It’s part of what we have to do – we have to identify their goals so that we know what we are going to help them work toward – our treatment plan. However, many of the people we serve struggle to come up with their goals and dreams. When we ask them what their goals are, many answer “to take my medications” or “to go to all of my appointments”. And while these are very important, my response often is “So when you were 12 years old and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up – you said “I want to grow up and take my medications as prescribed”? The answer to that is always “no”.
The people we serve often have lost hope about what they can accomplish in their lives. They haven’t thought about their dreams in a long time. They have been on the streets, in hospitals, or in other programs where staff keeps reminding them to take their meds and get to their appointments and they often tell us what they think we want to hear when we ask them what they want to work on. One of Cornerstone Montgomery’s core values states “We are bearers of hope”. This is probably one of the most important parts of our job – to make sure that the people we serve know that they have the same potential as everyone else. They can work, live, and be a productive part of the community. They can dream about getting a job, buying a car or moving into their own apartment and we will help them get there. They do not need to lose hope because they have a diagnosis. They do not need to lose hope because they have struggled to keep housing and find a job. This is already what we do everyday – 70% of the people in our supported employment program get a job, 15% of the people in our residential program move on to more independent housing. It can happen – they can have a dream and we can help them reach for it.
At Cornerstone Montgomery, we help people find their dreams again and figure out how they are going to achieve them. We are allies in their desire to have a meaningful life of their choosing. We see it happen every day. How can you be a bearer of hope for Cornerstone Montgomery? Through giving of time, resources, or connections – you can make a difference!
If you are inspired to give and support Cornerstone Montgomery, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with how you would like to provide help!